Brawn BGP 001 - One of the Biggest Surprises in the History of F1
The Brawn BGP 001 was the first and only car designed and used by Brawn GP Team and it won both titles in 2009 Formula 1 World Championships.
When Honda Racing retired from Formula 1, Ross Brawn and his partners took over the team and formed Brawn GP. They didn’t have enough time to prepare everything for the new season but they had enough experience and confidence to set up everything on the time.
Controversial double diffuser approved by FIA
Brawn GP Team was the team which has competed in only one season of Formula 1 Championship but was still able to win both titles with BGP 001 car which wasn’t so superior to the rest of the grid but it had one great advantage – so called ’double’ diffuser. A controversial aspect of that diffuser was the hole in the rear which increased the speed and created more downforce. Other teams complained about the hole, stating it is against the regulations but FIA announced it was legal.
Tight budget and short preparation time
The car designed by Loic Bigois was developed during 2008 and in the beginning of 2009 but was left without Honda engine. Brawn was offered engines of many manufacturers but the team opted for the Mercedes-Benz one which was good enough for the new car. However, the things weren’t perfect and BGP 001 needed some redesign. The car was still too heavy and further changes had to be done. Unlike other teams, Brawn did not opt to use the KERS system which provided an extra power and reduced the weight of the car.
The new car, despite a limited budget and development time, was well prepared for the preseason. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello was one of the strongest pair of drivers that year and over the season they both did a great job driving a reliable car which had only two retirements – Barrichello suffered a gearbox failure in Turkey, while Button collided on the first lap at Spa.
What a debut!
The season-opening race was in Australia and Brawn BGP 001 had a perfect debut. Jenson Button won the race, while Barrichello finished second which was the first 1-2 finish on the debut since 1954! Button also won the following race in Malaysia, while in China he was 3rd.
An excellent stream of success continued in the next four races. Button scored four consecutive wins in Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, and Turkey, while Barrichello was 2nd at Catalunya Circuit and in Monaco. Interestingly, Button didn’t win a single race that year but still managed to win his only title.
Button won the title despite struggling, Barrichello pushed the team to the title
After the first half of the season, Jenson topped the championship standings, with an advantage of 23 points to the 2nd-placed Barrichello. In the Teams’ championship, Brawn GP was 30.5 points ahead of Red Bull Racing. Considering the results in the first half of the campaign, it looked like Button and his team will have an easy job.
In eight races in the second half of the year, British driver scored only two podiums – 2nd place at Monza and 3rd place in the season-closing race in Abu Dhabi after he has already secured the title with the 5th place in the previous race in Brazil.
Even though Button hasn’t won anything in the second half of 2009 campaign, his teammate, on the other hand, managed to do so. Brazilian driver won European Grand Prix in Valencia, as well as Italian Grand Prix and those were his only podiums in that part of the season. At the end of the year, Rubens was 3rd, 18 points behind Button and 7 behind the 2nd-placed Sebastian Vettel, but he played an important role in the team’s assault on the title.
What do the numbers say?
Brawn BPG 001 won 8 out of 17 races in 2009 Formula 1 Championship. Button scored 6 victories, Barrichello won twice, while they shared a total of 15 podiums. They had only 5 pole positions (Button 4, Barrichello 1) and just 4 fastest laps (Button 2, Barrichello 2).
That was the glorious end of Brawn GP short life, after a while, the team was bought by Mercedes-Benz which was the beginning of another successful story.
Brawn BGP 001 technical specifications
|Chassis||Moulded carbon fiber and honeycomb composite monocoque|
|Engine||Mercedes-Benz FO108W V8 90° 2.400cc, mid-longitudinally mounted, naturally aspirated, rev-limited to 18.000 rpm|
|Gearbox||Paddle operated 7-speed semi-automatic|
|Suspension (front & rear)||Wishbone and pushrod activated torsion springs and rockers|
|Brakes||Ventilated carbon ceramic discs|
|Fuel||Mobil high-performance unleaded|